The Calcutta High Court has set aside the Central government's decision on strategic sale of the Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BCPL) and the company will inform the government about it this week so it decide the next step, an official said on Wednesday.
BCPL's Managing Director and Director (Finance) P.M. Chandriah said: "We will communicate the centre for the court's order by this week to take the decision on the future course of action."
In its affidavit, the government, explaining the rationale for its decision, stated that the liabilities of BCPL would be met out by the sale of its surplus land. Thereafter, there will be a sale of the shareholding of BCPL with a transfer of management of to a strategic buyer.
In such process, the Central Government seeks to achieve the basic objective of not doing business in a non-priority sector, it said.
But the court did not agree.
"..the decision of the Central Government based on the recommendations of NITI Aayog to consider BCPL as falling under the non-priority sector cannot be sustained. The consequent decision of undertaking a strategic sale of BCPL which is based upon the classification of BCPL under the non-priority sector is also vitiated.
"...the second issue is, therefore, answered by setting aside the decision of the Central Government to undertake a strategic sale of BCPL," ruled Justice Debangshu Basak, adding that citizens must have access to affordable health care.
The High Court also observed affordable health care would necessarily bring within its wake availability of affordable medicines and a Public Sector Undertaking manufacturing generic medicine would, therefore, "be better placed and equipped to provide such a service".
The order also said the financial performance of BCPL started improving since 2014 and it has started posting cash profits for the year 2014-2015 onwards.
"The financial results placed before the Court in respect of BCPL from 2014 onwards show that BCPL is posting cash profits. Its negative net worth is yet to be wiped out. However, the same does not necessarily lead one to infer that BCPL would not be in a position to wipe out its negative net worth given a chance," said the court.
The Central Government is "not claiming that, the products manufactured by BCPL is obsolete or does not have market", it added.
The company has surplus land and such land can be put to use in terms of Katoch Committee Report, the order added.
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